Disputed Sámi Parliament law goes to Finnish parliament on Thursday

“This is a tricky, complicated package that has been looked at without success during many different government terms,” Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Tuesday. (Pekka Tynell / Yle)

The Centre Party has repeatedly delayed the new law.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) says that the government’s proposed Sámi Parliament law will go to parliament on Thursday.

The proposal is opposed by the Centre Party, which is in the governing coalition, but Marin says she is calling time on their delaying tactics.

“The intention is to get a meeting of ministers to deal with the issue this week, and send the proposal to parliament,” said Marin.

Speaking at a press conference ostensibly focused on Finnish-Estonian relations on Tuesday, Marin rejected the idea of seeking cross-party consensus on the law.

“There has already been cross-party work done in connection with this current Sámi Parliament law,” said Marin. “The Sámi Parliament has also been involved. This is a tricky, complicated package that has been looked at without success during many different government terms.”

The law had been delayed twice by Centre Party ministers. Centre MPs will have a free vote on the law, and many are expected to oppose it.

The legislation would change the way the register of voters is compiled for Sámi Parliament elections, eliminating the eligibility of those whose only claim to Sámi heritage is an ancestors’ tax record as a ‘Laplander’.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canadian budget fell short on infrastructure, Indigenous leaders say, CBC News

Finland: Finnish Sámi activists win fishing rights case, Yle News

Sweden: Icy conditions in Sweden causing trouble for Sami reindeer herds, Radio Sweden

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